A Grateful Servant

I will praise God from Whom all blessings flow
Even when my blessing seems a meager portion–
Even when I am incapable of understanding
The awesome blessing of being loved by I AM.

Forgive, oh Lord, your oft ungrateful servant
Who would just as soon strike his fellow man
For crimes less grave than those I have committed
Against You, my gracious Master and loving King.

Your authority and grace bewilder your servant–
How they intermix and combine into Fatherly love.
Far beyond my comprehension are such things;
I can only ask for the wisdom to understand in time.

Everything Reminds Me of You

Everything reminds me of you;
It is the most wonderful and
The most agonizing feeling
To see you everywhere you are not.

Truthfully, ‘everywhere’ is one place:
It is here, where I now stand;
In the remotest parts of the world
I have brought you with me,

Though the only place you now inhabit
Is my mind and in my memory;
For until we again meet face-to-face,
You live only in thought and dream.

Security

Those who trust little tend to love not much larger,
But you have proven the exception to the rule
With a heart that seems not to close itself off,
Despite learning lessons that would have silenced others.

You carry insecurities born from years of such schools–
From childhood, your teachers taught you to think less
First of others, perhaps, but the lessons soon turned inward,
And turned inward, outward appearance gained new import.

Consciously, you tried to refuse ces nouvelles morales,
Leading a self-charged revolution contre la mode
A self-imposed rejection of material importance–
To be a living standard of rebellion against your own beliefs.

These beliefs you hold, you do not deeply cherish,
For they draw attention to an ever-growing sense
Of your ever-diminishing love of self
Even while your love for fellow man survives unscathed.

More successfully than others, you have taken in worldly voices,
Convincing yourself of their emanation from the inner self,
And fallen victim to your own reproachfulness and censure–
A greater critic of self than any other might have been.

For what in comparison to the world can you be rebuked?
For which quality would I think you unsuitable, inadequate?
And yet you have learned your lessons all too well,
For when I tell you there is none greater, you only demur.

The lies in your life have also been truths told cheaply.
Words may lose their value with time and inattention,
As you’ve learned when others valued initial feeling
Over abiding joy–over deep roots and solid foundation.

Would that I could portray myself as worthy of your trust,
But then the gifts I offer are not all so rich as to merit it.
What could I give you but honest feeling and mere belief?
What could I offer that could mitigate the great risk?

For I have sold my words cheaply to others before you–
Guilty of the same crimes that brought you to this place,
And though forgiven, my rehabilitation remains to be proven
By one willing to take the chance on an undeserving parolee.

Alas: parolee–one who gives their word–an ironic phrase
In my case and yours, for whom words have healed and hurt,
Given hope and taken it away, offered life and given death–
And yet you know that words are all I have to give in this place.

Take my words and give them value–take them into your heart–
Or dash them against the rocks of your mind and sift them as sand–
But take them, for they are all I have to give, and I must give to you
Something–the most valuable thing I have left: my own cheap words.

But words can turn into promises, and promises may become truths,
One day, some day–not too far off, and yet not close enough.
But hold on to my words, and if you cannot believe them now,
I only beg you to wait until you can consider me worthy of trust.

Then we will both learn new lessons from one another,
Lessons in grace no others could yet have taught us.
Then may my promises of words become security in truths,
And I will repeat them over and over, all of your days.

For Jack, a Blessing

May you increase in wisdom:
The gift of God to Solomon,
And the first gift I ask for you.

What are life and wealth,
What good fortune or fame,
If a man has not wisdom?

Seek wisdom above all these,
For a discerning heart and mind
Will be required to administer justice.

May you increase in stature:
A strong tower to those around you–
One to whom the helpless will run.

Let your physical strength be a sign
That you have the inward courage necessary
That a man must have to lead–and to be led.

For strength is truly known in weakness;
Your humility before God and the Church
Will show the world your true power.

May you increase in favor with God and man:
I pray that you will be a man among men,
That yours will be a life deserving of praise.

But let this not turn you aside from the path;
Do not create for yourself a calf of gold
Out of man’s approval or others’ desires.

Know what it is the Lord requires of you;
Act justly, my son, and love mercy;
Above all, walk humbly with our God.

May God give you all these and more,
May He make straight your life’s path,
And may you follow wherever He leads.

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52

Numb

I walk the world asleep these days.
Wandering aimless about my work,
Listing from one senseless moment to the next
Until it is time to lie down to wait for dawn.

When daybreak comes, I take my daily anesthetic
And forget how to feel the world around me.
I cannot let the outside in; it might prove too much.
I can only focus on so much pain in each moment.

The hurting is the only thing I feel today,
And even that might prove overmuch
For my already weakened state
From tiredness and ever-longing for you.

We say Some Day and it relieves the pain–
Temporarily. Until I remember that Some Day
Was once Yesterday, or Last Month,
And now even Next Month is uncertain.

When will Some Day be Today, oh love?
To ask you is unjust, for we neither of us know
What tomorrow holds, or what holds the year–
The year with all its empty promises.

So I choose pain over apathy as a last resort
For I need to feel something when I say “love”.
Pain is a reminder of what I do not have–
Temporarily–until we reach Some Day.

Doxology

How do we praise God
Through Whom all blessings flow
When the flow has slowed to a trickle?

How can the praise of the Lord be always on my lips
If–though my cup overflows–
My lips remain dry and chapped?

Praise Him all ye creatures here
Far, far below in stature and in understanding
Who have no standing to judge the Sovereign will.

And in all things, give thanks–
Even now when thankfulness is far from my mind
And I’m less worried about giving than receiving.

But ye also praise Him above, oh heavenly hosts.
Is it easier for you than it is for me?
Are you privy to His will or does it affect you less?

Should I still make a joyful noise to the Lord
If I don’t have joy in my heart–
If I find it difficult to believe my own words?

Praise the Father, praise the Son, praise the Holy Ghost
Who in perfect, harmonious relationship
Govern all blessings and curses on creation.

Am I not also called to weep with those who weep?
Lord, lead me as I attempt to understand
How it is possible to marry grief with praise.

Amen.
Amen.
Amen.
Amen.

My God Transcendent

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind…”
What a verse!
What a phrase!
Do you not yet understand?

The I AM–the One who could not be defined but by Himself–
God the Creator,
God the Redeemer,
Gives audience to created man–

The One who told the oceans thus far and no farther,
Star-sower,
Wind-gatherer,
He who commands the morning.

In highest majesty and power, He reigns in the Heavens,
Earth His footstool,
Holy is His throne,
And the trains of His robe fill the Temple!

But what King lowers Himself to His peasants’ livelihoods–
To walk with them,
Claim them as His own,
And be claimed by them in return?

What King sends His only Son to be the Savior of His people–
To heal them,
To bring them hope,
To buy their redemption with His own blood?

He who owes no man and to Whom all are beholden promised:
I will be your God,
You will be My people,
And I will make My dwelling among you.

The God of all wonders deigns to come and seek us
To be our Shepherd,
To be Abba, Father,
To claim us as His chosen people.

The God transcendent, infinitely glorious, and omnipotent:
Around all,
Above all,
And yet I may call Him “mine”.